The Thames Consortium, comprised of The National Maritime Museum, The National Portrait Gallery and The National Archives has been awarded six Collaborative Doctoral Partnerships (CDPs) per year for three years to support doctoral students. The CDP studentships are distributed by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) to sustain and promote high-quality research and skills in the sector. Maintaining the skills base in the arts and humanities is vital, and The National Archives will now be able to extend more opportunities for interdisciplinary research, knowledge exchange and training. We are pleased to be involved and thrilled that students will have access to a museum, an art gallery and an archive through which to explore their themes.

Available studentships

Visualising historic time to integrate data across multiple datasets

Closing date for applications: 28 April 2014 (interviews likely to be week beginning 26 May).

Collaborating organisations and supervisors:

The School of Design, Royal College of Art (RCA) and The National Archives in London are seeking applications for one fully funded Thames Consortium Studentship. Funded by AHRC, the three year PhD research programme will be supervised jointly by the RCA and The National Archives. The studentship begins in late September 2014.

The research

You will undertake a PhD on the visualisation of archive data with particular emphasis on time-wise interactive visualisations such as timelines and other chronographics. The research is intended to break new ground in representing multiple datasets. We see this as a problem of design, technology, and historiography, where data visualisation and interactivity hold the key to making sense of large data sets. This research builds on the achievements of an existing PhD project at the RCA which has already produced important advances for partners in museums and archives, disseminated through practical demonstrations, conference presentations and papers.

This project complements the AHRC-funded Big Data project 'Traces through Time' led by The National Archives in partnership with the Institute of Historical Research, King's College London, Brighton University and the University of Leiden, to identify and link individuals across large historical datasets spanning a wide timeframe. A key output of that project will be the identification of relationships between individuals in different datasets across time, including the 'fuzziness' and varying levels of confidence that are a feature of historical data.

The research will be jointly supervised by Dr Stephen Boyd Davis, Research Leader in the School of Design at the RCA and Dr Sonia Ranade, Digital Records Specialist at The National Archives.


The studentship will cover home fees (full time) and a stipend of £15,863 per year (current London rates) for UK students or EU students who have lived in the UK for three years prior to the award. Overseas students may also be eligible if they fulfil a range of residency requirements stipulated on the AHRC guidelines. More information on the AHRC's doctoral maintenance and fee rates for 2014/15 is available.

The student will be eligible for an extra £550 per year CDP allowance, in addition to (up to) £1,000 per year from The National Archives to cover research and travel costs.

How to apply

Please complete the online application.

When you reach the screen titled 'Course', please pick 'AHRC Scholarship - Visualising Historic Time' and 'PhD'.
You must include a research proposal and indicative bibliography with your application. General guidance is available on the RCA website, especially paragraph 7. Two academic references are required.

You are very welcome to discuss your ideas with Dr Stephen Boyd Davis:

Further details and application information:

Further details and application information (PDF, 1.66Mb)

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